Member Reviews

This is a very short book telling the story of Antigone and her doomed siblings. In a post apocalyptic world women are treated as vessels for new life with each citizen’s essence being stored in an archive ready for reuse. Antigone and her siblings are different though, born naturally from their parents union and thus seen as soulless. When revolution stirs against Antigone’s uncle and siblings choose different sides, Antigone will have to make hard choices and face consequences.

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Let me tell you this novella has me feeling some strong things for it okay! I picked this up because I originally read the authors divergent series way back in my high school days. Haven’t read a word from her since. Loved this books and saw this so said why not right?! I ATE this novella up. She had me drawn in with the way she had information sprinkled throughout the book. They live in a society where radiation destroyed the world and humans are struggling to survive and maintain a viable population. So anyone with a womb is now a valued resource. It’s a reimagining of the Greek story of Antigone. I’m not familiar with that story at all honestly. So I can’t speak on how true to the source material the author is. All I can speak on is how this 128 page novella made me feel. It made me sad and angry in so many ways. To explain them I would have to give spoilers. To which I won’t do. Just check this out. It’s an Amanda worthwhile read. This story had me in a clutch and the ending had me ready to throw my kindle if I didn’t love my kindle so much. Thank you NetGalley for the opportunity to read this and thank you Macmillan for approving my request of this tittle.

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Roth has become a must-read author for me recently. The last few books I've read from her have all surprised me with their ability to push the boundaries of their genres and leave me thinking about their stories and themes days later. So I was excited when I saw that she was releasing a dystopia/science fiction version of "Antigone," knowing that whatever I was in for, it was something I wouldn't want to miss.

The earth is a radiated hellscape, and humanity has been reduced to one, struggling city where just the effort of avoiding extinction takes up the priorities of almost every aspect of society. Antigone's parents hoped for more, for themselves, for their children, and for their world. But instead they were met with a violent coup, and now Antigone and her siblings have grown up in the household of Kreon, their power-hungry uncle. As she has grown, so, too, has Antigone's anger. And when her uncle pushes his power past what can be born, Antigone finds herself facing a world that badly needs to be shaken.

Like many others, I read "Antigone" back in high school and really haven't thought much more about it since. I do remember lots of tragedy and death all around just so one man could learn the lesson of not being a stubborn ass. Or something like that, at least. So I was curious to see how close to the original Roth stuck with this adaptation and how she would reconstruct a classical Greek story into a science fiction dystopia.

And I think the answers are that while she sticks fairly close to the original story, her abilities to write dystopian fiction should never be doubted, because she found very clever ways of adapting this ancient tale within futuristic and creative trappings all while exploring modern themes of power, science, and religion. Most especially, she finds a very unique way of adapting the central premise of the original story (Antigone attempting to perform banned funeral rites for her dead brother and being punished for this) into something that would raise the stakes of the entire situation. Here, these funeral rites hold much more power and import than as simple ritual acts. I don't want to get into too many details about the world-building, but suffice it to say, it was a very clever interpretation, I thought.

Roth utilizes a multi-POV tactic with telling this story. While we do get more chapters from Antigone's perspective than anyone else's, we also see through her brother's eyes, her sisters, Kreon's son (with whom Antigone has an arranged marriage), Kreon's wife, and even Kreon himself. I really enjoyed what all of these perspectives brought to the story. But as much of the tale is focused on the role that women play in this world and the kinds of power that they wield even while their options are so limited, I found Kreon's wife and Antigone's sister to have some of the more powerful sections (other than Antigone herself). Given how short this novella is, I was impressed by how well Roth fleshed out these themes in ways that will strike true to readers.

I also liked the way that the science fiction elements were used. There were a few things that left me questioning if I thought too hard about the mechanics of it all, but for the most part, I was so thoroughly invested in the story itself that I didn't get too bogged down in these details. I also liked that while Roth remained true to the story as a whole, her story ends with both the necessary tragedy but also a sense of hope. I think this hope is necessary to any good dystopian story, and Roth neatly balances it while not loosing the sense of the original story. Fans of dystopian stories as well as retellings of tales that aren't fairytales will likely enjoy this book.

Rating 8: Full of tragedy and hope, Roth uses the lens of a classic tale to shine a light on the power of women and the individual.

(Link will go live Feb. 8)

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Thank you for this advanced copy! I thought this was a really creative retelling and I enjoyed it a lot! I know it was a novella but I kind of wish it had been a bit longer because I found myself wanting a bit more of a backstory into how this dystopian society came to be. That being said, I loved the blend of sci fi and mythology, and I thought this retelling was really well done.

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There are a lot of interesting ideas here and Roth's writing has clearly improved greatly since I last read her work (over a decade go). I generally enjoyed it a lot and it kept my interest but I wasn't blown away by it.

3.5 stars

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While I did think this was a creative re-telling of Antigone, I couldn't connect with the characters or the writing style. It seems the reader is kept at a sort of distance, perhaps because of too many different point-of-view switches in narration. Additionally, the science-fiction setting is underutilized with most of the drama being character-driven in a way that could have been presented in pretty much any setting. I wish Roth had explored more of the sci-fi world she created, and this story may have been better suited for a full length novel rather than a novella..

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Full disclosure, I am not familiar with the story of Antigone. I am sure I read it while I was in school, but I don't remember. Thus, I went into reading Arch-Conspirator as just another book.

As a concept, I think it had a lot of promise. The concept of The Archive is something I think everyone wishes existed. It also felt like a weird futuristic book while also feeling like it was in the time before technology. That balance was quite odd.

It was very short, which is always good. However, I also think that the story could have had a bit more development.

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Oh man, this was such a fantastic read! I love Veronica Roth's writing, and this sci fi retelling of Antigone, it sounded so fantastic! I'm not familiar with the original, but this story sucked me in right away and I couldn't put it down!

First off, I have to say, this world is incredibly awful. That humanity only seems to survive in this one city, that there's that much radiation everywhere else, that their attempts to keep humanity surviving have basically made women into living wombs, not to be risked for anything was horrible.

Kreon orchestrated the events that led to Antigone's parents being killed. And then the family had to live with him, as a symbol, a show of power. The fact that then things started going down in this book, it was like, could they ever win against him? Would he ever get his comeuppance? Bah!

We were in a number of heads, considering how this is a novella. I enjoyed seeing these various perspectives, showing that maybe things weren't as clear cut as they seemed. But the one of Kreon was so very aggravating!

This was a really fantastic story, and I can't wait to read more by Veronica Roth!

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I am a huge Veronica Roth fan, but this is the first of her works I did not love. This novella works well as a re-telling of Sophocles's Greek tragedy "Antigone" with a dystopian twist, but it does not fare so well as a stand-alone story.

When I read this book, I had not re-freshed my memory with the original Antigone, so I was quickly lost in the beginning between the quick infodump of the numerous characters, their Greek names, and the intricate dystopian construct through which they moved.

I didn't feel that any of the characters had much depth, and so the motivation for much of their actions didn't make sense to me. However, when I read a summary of Antigone after I had finished this book, I feel that Roth relied too heavily upon the original play to move her characters through the story. These overly dramatic life and death scenes make sense in the Greek tragedy genre, but didn't transfer well to the science fiction story she tried to spin; we definitely could have used more fleshing out of the characters and a bit more world-building.

So once I had the benefit of the original Antigone plot, a lot of the story made more sense, and I felt that the weaving of the dystopian twists into the original play was an interesting take.

Overall, it was an okay read on my first run-through, and much more enjoyable when I viewed it in retrospect through the eyes of Sophocles.

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this novel. I encourage you to check this one out! Really solid read.

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The short of it is that this was spectacular.

I am a huge believer that the first paragraph of the book is the most important -- & Arch Conspirator has the best opening paragraph I have read in quite some time!

The only (I don't want to call it an issue, I just can't think of a better term) was that I had a rough time with name pronunciations. Because of that, I found myself skipping over names and then forgetting who characters where without their descriptions. I think this is just in part that I think this book is too smart for me.
Regardless, 5 stars.

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Thank you to Tor for providing me with this ARC!

So novellas are often hit or miss for me, this one was definitely a hit! I really enjoyed it. You get so many different perspectives and I didn’t feel any aspect of the story was lacking. I hadn’t read what the book is a retelling of so I can’t speak onto how it compares. Anyway, I really liked it and if you’re looking for a quick dystopian story, check this one out!

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We begin with a thank you to Veronica Roth and Tor Books for allowing me to read this book early on NetGalley. (Also, with a thank you to Tor Books for auto-approving me to read and review! I feel like I have made it as a reviewer now because of you.) Now onto what you’re here for, the meat of the review.

I did not read the whole synopsis when I requested this book. In fact, I only read the first sentence. Here’s a fun fact about me: I have read an absurd number of Antigone adaptations. I did my senior honors project on Antigone adaptations–specifically on stage adaptations–and then wrote my own adaptation as well. Now, when you’ve read as much Antigone as I have, you might start to think you’ve just had enough of Antigone and you never want to hear her name again. If you thought that’s how I feel, you’d be wrong. I see the name Antigone and I go, “holy political-commentary-thinly-veiled-behind-Greek-tragedy, I have to read this now.” Which is exactly what happened with Arch-Conspirator. I saw the title and author, thought, “this seems interesting,” started to read the synopsis, got the “Antigone,” and went, “I don’t even care what the rest of this says. I need this book now.”

Despite all of the Antigone I’ve read, I’m fairly certain Arch-Conspirator is the first novelized adaptation I’ve actually dug into. That in itself makes it a unique experience for me, and I love having Antigone in this format. There is so much that can be done in a play, and I love this story in that medium, too. However, I am absolutely in love with the ability to actually see Antigone’s thoughts and feelings as internal rather than needing them externalized like you would on stage. I also love the way Roth writes them. Her characterization of Antigone is one that feels true not only to the character modern audiences met in Sophocles’ play, but one that feels even more true for the environment that character has been placed in.

That environment also made this a unique and fun Antigone experience. I’ve read Antigones set in a multitude of locales and time periods. This was my first sci fi dystopian Antigone, and I loved every moment of her. I loved the world-building that Roth wove into the narrative. I loved the fact that Antigone was still able to be the political figure she is so often portrayed as, while also being a fully-fleshed young woman in a world designed to spite her. I love that the world she and her family and her enemies live in is one that haunts me when I close my eyes. I love that I’ve found another version of Antigone I can give my heart to. I even love the ending. Because, yes, this version of Antigone remains a tragedy, but it is a tragedy with an ending I did not fully see coming.

I can’t fully put into words all of the things I love about this reimagining of Antigone, just that it is everything I hoped it would be and more. I have read through it twice, and I have a feeling I might give it another read tonight. This is one that is immediately going into my shopping cart and onto my bookshelf the moment it hits the shelves, as well as one that I am adding to my library’s purchase list. (I can think of several patrons who would get behind this book.) You don’t have to be as obsessed with Antigone retellings as me to enjoy this story; I don’t think you even need to be overly familiar with it. Being someone who likes Antigone might make you more likely to enjoy Arch-Conspirator, but I would also recommend it to fans of The Handmaid’s Tale.

I can’t wait for February so that I can have a physical copy of this book to sleep with under my pillow so that I might absorb the story through osmosis. I need this to live in my brain forever.

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Veronica Roth’s newest book is called the Arch-Conspirator. This book reminds me a little of The Handmaiden’s Tale with the premise being that women are valued for their ability to reproduce. It’s a relatively short and gripping novel.

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I enjoyed this retelling of Antigone. I liked the premise and the sci-fi aspects of the story. It was obviously still a myth, but it helped me (and I assume others) understand the story more in relevant terms. I would curious to see if there will be more in a series of myths with modern retellings. Overall, it was interesting. Did I enjoy it? I'm not really sure on that part

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I’m not quite sure what to make of this book. I am unfamiliar with the original story (maybe I read it during school, but I don’t remember?) so I definitely think I needed some more information to really get involved in the world. The story could be captivating, but more content is needed to really bring it all together.

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Complex, fascinating, timely, and relevant are some of the adjectives that come to mind. The most perfect Antigone retelling.

This was brilliant, and I need more. The end.

Thank you to the publisher for the free review copy!

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Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC copy in exchange for an honest review.

I have to say, even though I love Veronica and her insane imagination, this one just didn't work for me. I know it's a retelling of Arigone but something felt off. It's just not the book for me.

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to read Arch-Conspirator by Veronica Roth!

This book is a futuristic retelling of Antigone. This is a fairly faithful adaptation, so I think fans of the original and people who have read it can enjoy it. This is a novella so it does go fairly quickly but it is enjoyable. I have read 6 other books by Veronica Roth and I continue to enjoy her writing. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys Greek adaptations.

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I did not realize, when I started this book, that it was a re-telling of a Greek tragedy written by Sophocles, which I was not familiar with. I really enjoyed Roth's retelling. It took me a bit to get into, but once I did I flew through this story. I was so disappointed when I realized it was over!
I am a fan of Roth's style of writing and this was no different. I appreciated how she was able to change the lens for this retelling, having the story set in a post-apocalyptic future. I wished it was longer. I want a hopeful ending to Antigone and her sister's story!

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